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Virginia Regulatory Town Hall
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Department of Education
Guidance Document Change: The Model Policies for the Treatment of Transgender Students in Virginia’s Public Schools guidance document was developed in response to House Bill 145 and Senate Bill 161, enacted by the 2020 Virginia General Assembly, which directed the Virginia Department of Education to develop and make available to each school board model policies concerning the treatment of transgender students in public elementary and secondary schools. These guidelines address common issues regarding transgender students in accordance with evidence-based best practices and include information, guidance, procedures, and standards relating to: compliance with applicable nondiscrimination laws; maintenance of a safe and supportive learning environment free from discrimination and harassment for all students; prevention of and response to bullying and harassment; maintenance of student records; identification of students; protection of student privacy and the confidentiality of sensitive information; enforcement of sex-based dress codes; and student participation in sex-specific school activities, events, and use of school facilities.
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1/5/21  12:49 pm
Commenter: K. Thompson

Concern with Policy
 

I have worked in child development for 12 years - working with children ages 6weeks to 12 years in both the public and private sectors. I’ve worked with youth with many gender identity and sexual preferences. I believe they should not be bullied or discriminated against due to this lifestyle. I believe all children should be safe and protected at school. I believe children should be free from external stressors while on school to allow for the best learning and growth opportunities. I have committed LT professional life to our young community members and believe they are our future. 

I do not believe this is the way to provide the one things above. Some of the changes proposed related to ending gender split groupings, allowing free choice for bathroom and changing spaces and expecting an open dialogue so early on about gender fluidity are, for lack of any other appropriate term, HARMFUL. We are proposing dramatic and, quite possibly traumatic, changes to the school building and protocols for a very small number of students. In reality (and I know because I was a middle school teacher!) the students experiencing suffering related to these policies are not experiencing it due to which bathroom they can use! Their suffering is due to bullying and lack of discipline and expectations. Less rules and structure are completely in opposition of the true goal- to eliminate bullying and discrimination. 

As a mother, I am also super concerned about opening the door to allowing shared changing spaces. Our children are already specialized way too early due to our culture. Please do not further this by buying into the idea that an elementary child has ANY clue what their gender identity or sexual orientation may be or that it is different than their same sex peers! This is actually causing children to notice and identify their differences even earlier on! 

Please consider these decisions from the lease of limiting educational disruptions and encouraging mutual respect. I beg of you not to adopt this plan as is! 

CommentID: 88296